UK

Kwik Save founder and billionaire Albert Gubay dies, aged 87

Albert Gubay

Billionaire Albert Gubay, who once made a "pact with God" to leave his fortune to the church and other charities, has died at his home in Cheshire, aged 87.

The entrepreneur and philanthropist founded the Kwik Save supermarket chain in 1965 before amassing a fortune in excess of £1bn.

In 2011, Mr Gubay was honoured by the Pope for his charity work.

His firm The Derwent Group said: "It is with the greatest sadness that we have to announce the death of our founder.

"Our thoughts are with his wife Carmel, his children and grandchildren," added a spokesman.

In 2011, Albert Gubay revealed to the BBC that, as a young businessman, he had made a divine pact.

"One Saturday, I didn't know where the next penny was coming from and I lay on my bed and I had this conversation with God," he said.

"I said 'God, help me and whatever I make over the years of my life, when I die, half will go to the church.'"

Image caption Albert Gubay owned the Mount Murray Country Club on the Isle of Man which was badly damaged in a fire in 2013

Since then, profits from his business empire have been distributed each year to charitable causes.

Half of his money, from his £1bn fund, goes to causes identified by the Roman Catholic Church, with the other half going to good causes selected at the discretion of the trustees.

In recognition of his generosity, he was awarded a Papal Knighthood - the highest award a Roman Catholic lay person can receive.

Selling sweets

Mr Gubay was born in 1928 in Rhyl to an Irish mother and Iraqi Jewish father.

He began his business career in North Wales selling sweets during rationing in the aftermath of World War Two.

He went on to launch several successful business including the Total Fitness empire and acquiring property developments in Liverpool and Manchester.

One venture, the Mount Murray Country Club on the Isle of Man was badly damaged and subsequently closed down after a fire in 2013.

Mr Gubay amassed a fortune in excess of £1bn, a number he argued was "so great it does not mean anything".

"I know some people who don't want to give anything away," he told the BBC.

"I don't know what for because there comes a time you can't grab on to it so you might as well try to do some good with it."

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